Friends Mentioned in the Quran


According to a common adage, a man is known by the company he keeps. Our friendships define and reflect our own persona and innate characteristics. Therefore, it is imperative to watch our steps, before we stride on the road to lifelong camaraderie. “Hiba” guides its readers regarding the kinds of people one should befriend, as mentioned in the Quran.

“A person is upon the religion of their friend.” (Tirmidhi) This simple Hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad (sa) defines the sort of relationship we should have with people around us. We should be very careful before making friends. Even if one is pious and religious, if a person’s friends are not on the right path, they will bring about his/her downfall. Hence, we should be very careful, while making friends. Even if we have friends which are not on the right path, instead of following their desires, we should try to guide them and mend their ways. The relationships that we have in this world can lead to our failure or success in the hereafter. Achieving the latter is the ultimate aim of all Muslims. Hence, we should try to make friends who help us achieve this goal.

Since the Noble Quran guides Muslims in every walk of life, it also enlightens regarding the type of friends one should keep. These guidelines are presented by giving friends different terms that help identify the right kind. Following is a brief explanation of the sort of friends that we come across in our life.


The word Qareen actually comes from the Arabic term Kiham, which means ‘a rope that ties two camels together’. Hence, Qareen is a kind of friend, who is always with you, spending time with you, texting and emailing you. Such a friend is always around you.

When a person achieves paradise, he/she will remember their friends. They will say: “I used to have this friend, this Qareen, I wonder what happened to him?” They will remember that Qareen used to lure them towards sin. Many a times, they listened to their friend and did all that they were invited to.

Friends generally share the same activities. For instance, when one goes to movies or to watch a basketball game, he invites others as well, so that he may have company. Hence, friendships are based on mutual interests. Therefore, there might have been times, when one was compelled to join their friend in some vain activity out of sheer pleasure.

However, soon they realise that such activities are nothing but sin and mend their ways. On the contrary, their friend keeps egging them on towards such pleasures, making fun of them when they refuse. When one in paradise will inquire about such friends, they will see that they are burning in the worst part of hell. The pious one will thank Allah (swt) for guiding him and saving him from hellfire and will be happy that he stopped listening to his friend.

This is testimony to the fact that a friend can either utterly destroy you or guide you to the right path. The ones in paradise will thank Allah (swt) for guiding them and preventing them from following their friend. They have achieved the ultimate success, which in this context is to escape the temptation of a bad friend, who wants to pull you into evil deeds.

You may be a Qareen or you might have a Qareen. You might be a bad influence yourself, or you might be someone, who is influenced by one far worse than you. Gauge yourself, think about your life. What kind of role do you play among your friends? Are you the person who always uses foul language to get attention? Are you a Qareen, who makes fun of others, when they stop you from doing wrong? Do you look at the things that are highly inappropriate on the web and encourage other people to look at them too?

There is another Qareen that is discussed in the Quran and that is Satan. He befriends those who walk away from the remembrance of Allah (swt). Even when they perform prayers, they are not actually remembering Allah (swt). They just wait for it to be over, so that they can indulge in worldly activities. There is no other motivation for them. Their Qareen constantly compels them to indulge in evil. May Allah (swt) protect us from that kind of Qareen.


Khazool is a kind of friend, who only accompanies one in good times, and when the friend needs him, he simply vanishes. He poses to be sincere but shows his true colours in difficult times. Allah (swt) mentions that Satan has always been a Khazool for human beings. A person loses his/her humanity, when giving in to temptations. Satan deceives thousands of young people, because he wants everyone to land in hellfire. He is a Khazool, who will be with you in this life to misguide you, but on the Day of Judgement, when people who followed him will be cursing him, he will simply rebuke them saying that they followed him out of their own free will and he is not to be blamed.


Rafeeq comes from the Arabic word Mirfaq which means ‘a pillow, something on which you relax when you are exhausted’. A Rafeeq is a kind of friend that you can count on in the hour of need. Such a friend gives sincere advice and is a source of comfort. Allah (swt) explains that a person’s Rufaqah are Nabyeen, Siddiqeen, Shuhada and Sualeheen. Firstly, the prophets are our Rafeeq. Then, the Siddiqeen – those who relentlessly confirm the truth. Thirdly, the Shuhada – those who bear witness of the truth. These are the people who live Islam and are not afraid to show it. Lastly, the Sualeheen – the righteous people are our Rafeeq. These are the people that one can depend on.

In order to gauge who Rafeeq is, one should consider the character of a particular person. Does interaction with him or her make you a better person? One should befriend people who live Islam. They do not give in to temptations and live life for a higher purpose. The best thing to do in this regard is apart from spending time with people of your age, one should also befriend older people. When one spends time with people that are older, they become more mature and also get good advice.

In Islam, as soon as one reaches puberty, s/he becomes an adult. In other words, when you turn to certain age, there are some adult expectations from you. If prayer is binding upon you, then you have to pray, you have to be responsible, and you cannot do certain things that you could have done, when you were a kid. Hence, in this age, it is imperative that one chooses friends wisely, so that they are guided to the right path.


Wali is a protective friend, who is there to watch your back. You can rely on him/her whenever there is a danger. Your first Wali is Allah (swt) followed by His Messenger Muhammad (sa). Holding on to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is a means of protection. For example, for a young man, growing a beard is a big challenge; however, it protects him from so many temptations and problems. Just by holding on to the Sunnah of the Messenger (sa), such as to walk with humility and lower your gaze, you will be saved from committing a lot of sins.

Also, all the believing Muslims are your Wali. The ones who perform prayers and follow the limitations set by Islam. By performing regular prayers, they show humility. Nowadays, in schools and colleges, arrogance is being glorified. Five to six days a week, the youth witness that the one who shows arrogance is considered the star of the school.  On the contrary, when such youth go to a Friday sermon, they hear humility being glorified. Hence, they remain confused and it does not impact their minds.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Whoever has the amount of seed worth of arrogance in their heart, they will never see paradise.” (Muslim) This Hadeeth includes even those who are religious – because of their following Islam, they have become arrogant; when they see others that are comparatively less religious, they think that they are better than them. This is also the arrogance that earns Allah’s (swt) wrath. Analyze yourself, remove arrogance from your heart and befriend a Wali.


Siddique is the most sincere and truthful friend that will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. Such a friend knows what is in your best interest and does not shy away from expressing it. Sometimes your friends will not say the right thing, because they are afraid that your feelings might get hurt – Siddique will not do that. S/he is a sincere friend, who can point out your flaws and help you change.

We can learn a lesson from the sincerity of Yousuf (as), when he was thrown in prison. There were criminals all around him that are considered to be the worst kind of people in the society. He remained in such an environment; however, he did not change. Those he interacted with called him “al- Siddique,” the sincere one, who never shies away from telling the truth. We should have this kind of character.


Khaleel is a very close friend, for whom you feel love in your heart. Anything that hurts them, hurts you; any joy that comes to them gives you joy. This is the kind of relationship that is so honoured in the Quran. Allah (swt) chose Ibrahim (as) as a Khaleel. Ibrahim (as) shared a special relationship with Allah (swt). Many a times, when he was afflicted with trials, he relied only on Allah (swt), such as when he was thrown in the fire and when he was in the middle of the desert.


Hameem is the one, who is very close to you through kindness and generosity. They are always there, where you want them to be. Khaleel is in the heart, Hameem is in the manifest; on the outside.


Waleejah is the friend, whom you trust to the extent of involving him/her in your private matters. They help you out in business transactions or personal relationships. They assist you in managing problems and disputes in your life. Your Waleejah should only be a true believer. Allah (swt) has strictly forbidden us to keep Waleejah other than Muslims, as they will employ every means possible to cause you harm.

Make sure you are friends with those people who are good role models, rather than those who open doors to sins. The responsibility lies in parents as well. If they do not want their kids to be in trouble or have problems in life, they should make sure that their children have good, sincere Muslim friends. The five hundred people on your Facebook profile are not your friends. Your true friends are those, who guide you to the right path.


Akhdam are friends that you are attracted to. Nowadays, we call them boyfriend or girlfriend. Allah (swt) speaks about them in the Quran, too. Allah (swt) guides that marriage should not be based on some shallow infatuation. Media misguides youngsters, and they enter wedlock having lowly standards. Lose your addiction to entertainment. If you are involved with someone out of wedlock, then walk away from it; save yourself now. You think nobody is watching you; however, Allah (swt) is always there. You think you are not in trouble, because your parents do not know; however, Allah (swt) knows. If you even have an ounce of belief left in your heart, then you know that it is better to walk away.

Following are a few verses of the Noble Quran that explain how our friends will turn away from us on the Day of Resurrection.

“And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: ‘Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Quran) after it had come to me. And Satan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.’ And the Messenger (Muhammad) will say: ‘O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Quran (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and orders).’” (Al-Furqan 25:27-30)

Before making friends, we should understand the reality of resurrection. Those who believe in resurrection are well-aware of the fact that there shall be no relationships on that day. They will mean nothing on the Day of Judgment. All the worldly relationship that we nurture and blindly follow will not help us. We will be alone with our records in front of Allah (swt).

It is difficult for youngsters to save themselves from peer pressure at school. No matter how much parents try to guide their children, they at times succumb to it and, as a result, indulge in something that is forbidden by Allah (swt). They do it just because all their friends are doing it; hence, it is really important to choose our friends wisely – those who do not force us to tread the forbidden path. At that moment one thinks that they are deviating from what the whole world is doing and being experimental. A person feels his reputation will be at stake in this world. However, this is not so. People do not care for whatever we do in this. They forget, as they have problems of their own to deal with.

We should only think of saving our reputation in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has blessed this Ummah with health and luxury, but we have forgotten His favours and indulge in petty worldly affairs whining about everything. This is all because we are over influenced by the company around us. The materialistic, self-centered people have become our role models. We should redefine our priorities by fixing our relationships with the fellow human beings. We should only be friends with God-fearing people for the sake of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) guide us. Ameen.

Transcribed for hiba by Sadaf Khalid

Friendship with non-Muslims


There are many blessings in friendship. In his essay “Of Friendship”, philosopher Francis Bacon states that a good, honest friend is a source of constructive feedback. This idea was also stated by the Prophet (sa), as he was reported to have said: “A believer is the mirror of his brother. When he sees a fault in it, he should correct it.” (Bukhari)

The benefits above are universal and apply to all human societies. Let’s see what our Creator has advised Muslims about such a beneficial institution as human friendship.

“Verily, your Wali (Protector or Helper) is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers…” (Al-Maidah 5:55)

On the face of it, one may think that Allah (swt) wants Muslims to befriend only the people of their own community and have no friendly relations with the non-Muslims. If one studies the Sunnah, it soon becomes apparent that this is not the case.

The most general human relation possible is Muwasat. This entails wishing well for all creation, including all of humanity out of compassion.  After Badr, Muslims took the disbelievers as prisoners of war. They were kept in the Prophet’s Masjid and were treated in the best manner. They were given the best food, while Muslims had to do with little. During the reign of Umar (rtam), non-Muslims used to receive monthly stipends from the state treasury. Muslims were averse only to disbelief, not to the disbelievers.

The next type of relationship is Mudarat, where one deals with people of the other communities on a one-to-one basis. These interactions may take place if, for example, one has a non-Muslim guest or a neighbour or someone sitting next to them in a flight. Again, Muslims are supposed to show their best behaviour in such interactions. A Jew visited the Prophet (sa) once and was invited to eat there and sleep in his bed during the night. The next day, when he left, he forgot his sword. The Prophet (sa) kept it safe, until he came back to collect it later.

The third type of relationship is Muamalat, where Muslims associate with non-Muslims on the basis of some work – for instance, as an employer, employee, colleague, teacher, doctor, librarian, etc. The Prophet (sa) once borrowed money from a Jewish money lender by pawning his belongings to him.

The last category of friendship is Muwalat, in which people become close intimate friends with each other. They tend to support each other at all cost, even at the cost of their beliefs. It is this friendship that is prohibited for Muslims. Such friendships can influence one’s entire way of life. If a Muslim befriends non-Muslims intimately, there is a danger that the former will forget his responsibilities as a member of the Ummah. If a Muslim condones all actions of a non-Muslim friend, how can he invite him to the Deen?

Islam encourages Muslims to take full benefit of the institution of friendship. They must have compassion for all humanity, deal well with any non-Muslim they come in contact and work with them constructively for common objectives in society in an exemplary manner. However, they must reserve the intimate nature of friendship only for fellow Muslims.

“What you Think of me is None of my Business”


Self-help guru Wayne Dyer said something very profound recently: “What you think of me is none of my business.” Islam taught us this way back.

You just started covering your head with a loose scarf. You are sitting with your friends and having a good time. All of a sudden, one of your friends, let’s call her Mona, starts talking about Hijab. She says something along the lines of “Hijab is only about being modest. I mean, the Quran doesn’t even say the word ‘hair’!” All of your other friends are nodding and looking at Mona like she’s some sort of saint. And then they look at you.

What to do? Speak up? Have them think of you as some preacher, or worse, an extremist? Or be quiet and not say anything? You decide to mumble something about “being pretty sure that wasn’t right”.

Of course, you say it just loud enough, I mean low enough, that they can’t hear you. But hey, at least you said it, right? Having done your duty, you relax and join in the “fun”. But when the scarf on your head slips down, you do not put it back on.

Now, picture another scene.

637 CE – Jerusalem offers a truce, provided that the Khalifah comes himself from Madinah to sign the treaty. Umar (rtam) sets out for Jerusalem with a slave and a camel. They take turns riding the camel. When they approach Jerusalem, it is Umar’s (rtam) turn to walk, so he enters Jerusalem holding the rope of his camel.

Abu Ubaidah (rtam), the commander-in-chief of the Muslim army, suggests that he change his clothes, so that the people of Jerusalem, accustomed to pomp and grandeur of kings and emperors, are not dissuaded from handing the keys over to him. Umar (rtam) hits him hard on the chest and reminds him that they had been a disgraced nation. Islam brought them honour; should they seek it from anything else, they would surely be humiliated again. “The only way for success is the way of the Prophet (sa),” he says.

What happened in the first scene? A Muslim began following Allah’s (swt) commandment – good intentions and all, faced peer pressure and caved under it.

And the second scenario? A strong Muslim, who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him, and does what his teacher has taught, and knows that is the right thing to do.

For us, practising Muslim wannabes, to get from scene one to scene two will take some serious working out.

Firstly, understand this: peer pressure is not a recent phenomenon. It is as old as human beings! All the prophets of Allah (swt) faced all kinds of peer pressure. So, if you face some unpleasant stuff when you begin your journey on the straight path – surprise, surprise, it’s no surprise!

Secondly, our public conduct is influenced by what other people think, because, like it or not, social pressure is a powerful force. Even when we know we want to do the right thing, we pause out of sheer terror of being labelled an extremist, fanatic or Mullah.

Good news, we can overcome this fear by making a concerted effort. Allah (swt) says: “Verily, Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves.” (Ar-Rad 11:13)

The strategy we find from the Sunnah can be summed up in a two-pronged approach:

Aimed Inwards – At You

  1. “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death,” said a wise man.

This dependence on people’s opinion of us originates in weakness of faith – if our pride in Islam is not strong enough to provide the confidence we need to practice it, we get taken in easily by peer pressure. Work on your relationship with Allah (swt), plug into the sources of our Deen, the Quran and Sunnah, and, Insha’Allah, you will see a marked difference in your confidence.

  1. Understand your ‘identity’.

One major reason for falling into peer pressure is not having a secure Muslim identity. You can get that by going back to the roots. Arm yourself with the knowledge of Seerah and the lives of our predecessors for finding out who you are.

“Are those who know equal to those who know not?” (Az-Zumar 39:9)

  1. Get strength from the glad tidings for those who remain steadfast on Deen in the face of opposition and trials.

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Islam began strange, and it will become strange again just like it was at the beginning, so blessed are the strangers.” (Muslim) Hello, stranger! You are in great company. Such news will keep you motivated.

  1. Don’t be a cry-baby all the time.

The road to Paradise is not for the weak hearted. Build up your nerves and learn to be thick skinned. When you mull over an incident, avoid the urge to magnify the negative.

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although there is good in each.” (Muslim)

  1. Hang out with ‘real’ friends.

If people around you give you grief for your beliefs: (a) it is their problem and (b) you need to bail out. Allah (swt) says: “And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord, morning and afternoon, seeking His Face.” (Al-Kahf 18:28)

  1. Beg Allah (swt) for help.

You can’t do this on your own for sure – without His assistance. So, get down in prostration and pray for Istiqamah (uprightness/steadfastness). This beautiful Dua of the Prophet (sa) is spot on: “O Turner of Hearts! Keep my heart steadfast upon your Deen.” (Tirmidhi)

Aimed Outwards – At Others

  1. Deflect criticism, mockery and rudeness.

Follow this Prophetic example and you will be on your way to the straight path:

Members of Quraysh poked fun at the Prophet (sa) by making reference to him as “Mudammam” (a play on Muhammad), which means ‘ugly’. Muhammad was a unique name in Makkah at that time and it means ‘the one who is praised’. The companions complained to the Prophet (sa) with tears in their eyes. His response was that they should ignore the mocking laughter associated with ‘Mudammam’ because his name was Muhammad and not Mudammam. He defused the irony, neutralized it and pulled the rug out from under it, with gentleness, wit and humility.

  1. Keep your cool.

When ugly situations arise and peer pressure kicks in to high gear, it is very easy to get caught up in the moment and forget that you will have to live with the choices you make. If you give in and do something that is contrary to your core value system, it will cause you distress later and you will feel regret.

Remember, peer pressure only works if you let it. If you refuse to let it intimidate you, it loses its power. The secret is to be assertive, without becoming preachy or self-righteous. Stand your ground, but refrain from standing on a soap box.

On the Faith of my Friend (Part 2)

faith of friend

The Third Story: Back to the Noor of Iman

How many of you know that Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan is an ex-atheist? Here is his story:

I went through an internal struggle, when I was in junior high school. Basically, it was a loss of religion. When I came to the USA in the ninth grade, it was a cultural shock. A lot of the values that I was raised with were all being questioned at the same time. There was nobody that I could talk to or verify my own beliefs with. Eventually, what happens is that you make friends based on proximity and common interest, so most of my friends were polytheists and a good number of smart people were actually atheists. Falling into that crowd and not being around any Muslims, I ended up with a good bunch of very messed up friends.

I hid my confusions from my family, because I knew how taboo they could be – you can’t really share these kinds of confusions at home, so I learnt to live with them. I began to have almost a hatred for the concept of God. Religion became something that I associated more with my friends, rather than my family. No matter how in touch you are with your religion, it’s just a matter of having messed up friends.

However, Subhanallah, with the Mercy of Allah, Allah (swt) opened many doors for me, one after another, that I couldn’t have opened myself – those doors led me back to Iman. Allah (swt) opened a door for me that led me to make friends with a person, who I would probably not have imagined associating with. I ran into him by chance. As I was sitting in the hallway, I saw this guy come up and post a flyer on the college billboard, which read “Muslim Student Association”. I thought: “Wow, these people will probably invite all the Muslims to jam together.” So I went over to him and started talking to him about it, and he said: “Yeah, it’s a lot of fun! You have to come!”

I skipped out on all the other clubs that I was part of and I went to this supposedly great party club. When I reached there, there was no one in the room, except the guy who had put up the flyers with a box of pizza, waiting for the others to show up. When I walked in, I felt sort of awkward, so I tried to leave. He, however, reeled me in – we started talking and became friends.  He’d give me a ride home every day. And we’d hang out every other day. No Islam, no religion – he was just a friend.

One time, when we got stuck in traffic, he said: “It’s getting late. Would you mind, if I stopped here and offered my Maghrib prayer?” I readily agreed. At that time, it must have been six years since I had last prayed. Inexplicably, I felt the urge to pray with him. So I went, performed my Wudhu and prayed with him. And I felt something that I had not felt in a very long time. A sort of peace. I tried to bury it inside me. Thanks to the Mercy of Allah (swt), he gave me that consistent company and through him I got to meet a lot of wonderful people – young Muslims, who were really active in their community, doing things that mattered, trying to make the world a better place.

It made me think, wow, these people have such a sense of purpose – where are they getting it from? Because till then I had no sense of purpose. One of the other things he did for me was that he connected me to this programme, which was going on in the Muslim centre in Flushing. It was in Ramadan, and the programme included a Taraweeh prayer coupled with the explanation of the Quran. Then, for the first time in my life I realized that the Quran was actually a dialogue – Allah (swt) was talking to me. The Lord of the Worlds was directly engaged in conversation with me. I was mystified. I listened for the entire month. In the end, I went up to the presenter and told him: “I want to do what you do.”

Masha’Allah, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan went on to establish the “Bayyinah Institute”, an institute of Islamic learning that has transformed many lives since. All due to the Mercy of Allah (swt), Who connected him to that one friend, who led Nouman Ali Khan to the Nur of Iman once again.

The Fourth Story: The Miracle of Kabah

The following story is one of the most riveting tales I have ever heard in my life:

During his school days, a boy by the name of Aslam had a close friend, who eventually grew up to be one of the greatest scholars of this generation. They graduated from school and went ahead in their lives. Aslam was blessed with a wonderful education and career, a highly paid job and very meritorious position, lavish lifestyle and belongings. Life for him was, in a nutshell, perfect. And this perfection is what planted the seed of arrogance in his heart. “I have everything I want in this world,” he thought. “I’m dependent on nobody. There is no Allah (swt). I am the master of my own life.”

One day, he mentioned this to his friends at a gathering, in which his old school friend, now a Sheikh, was also present. When his friends heard directly from Aslam’s mouth that he had adopted atheism, there was no end to the mockery and remonstrance he was subjected to. Only the Sheikh maintained absolute silence. None of what his friends said, however, had any effect on him. He was resolute – there is no God. Allah (swt) continued to shower His infinite blessings upon Aslam, who, as time went on, became more and more complacent. On reaching the pinnacle of his power and wealth, he boldly stood up in a gathering and proclaimed: “There is no Allah! I am an atheist!”

It was at this assertion that Allah’s (swt) anger descended upon the smug man. Aslam contracted a strange disease that confounded doctors. He intermittently suffered from severe fits and profuse sweating. No doctor had ever come across this disease, nor had they ever heard of it – naturally, they had no idea of how to treat it. As a result, Aslam’s health steadily deteriorated. He lost weight and became weaker by the day. The fits rendered him unable to work and he was fired from his job. His wife and friends, assuming the disease was contagious, deserted him. He was left all alone. And that’s when he remembered his childhood friend, who had not mocked him, when he had announced his atheism. “He must be my true friend,” Aslam thought and rang up the Sheikh.

The Sheikh was a wise man. On hearing the plight of his friend, he replied: “I may be able to help you. I know of two other people, who were afflicted with the same disease. A doctor in the USA was able to cure them.”

Oh, were any other words sweeter than these? “Please help me contact that doctor!” Aslam pleaded.

“Of course, I will, my friend,” replied the Sheikh, “but only on one condition.”

“Anything,” Aslam breathed.

“You must promise me that on your way back from USA to Pakistan, you must stop at Makkah to perform Umrah.”

Aslam was caught unawares. “But I’m an atheist! Why would I go to Makkah?”

“This is my condition. If you want to get yourself treated by the right person, you have to promise.”

Defeated, Aslam agreed. The Sheikh gave him the doctor’s contact number and wished him a safe journey. Aslam arrived in the USA and visited the recommended physician. The physician examined his situation and remarked: “The disease you are suffering from is one of the rarest diseases in the world. Only three people have contracted it so far, but I have been able to cure them.” Aslam’s treatment began. But Allah’s (swt) will was such that instead of alleviating Aslam’s situation, the treatment made it worse. No medicine worked.

Realising that there was nothing to be gained in the USA, a distraught Aslam boarded the aircraft bound for home, barely well enough to travel. He was mere skin and bones, and the seizures overtook him more frequently than ever. As promised, he had arranged for a transit in Makkah. The thin, emaciated form disembarked in Makkah and the sunken eyes beheld the Kabah for the first time. The black box is indeed a miracle in itself. Allah’s (swt) glory manifested itself in the self-proclaimed atheist’s eyes, who cried out in pain and agony, clutching at the last straw, “Ya Allah, agar tu hai, tou mujhe theek karday!” (O Allah, if you are present, cure me!) The moment he uttered these words, his body relaxed. He felt calmer. And when the seizures came, they weren’t as intense as before. As days passed, they became less frequent, came with greater gaps and the intensity steadily decreased till the fits vanished altogether. Overwhelmed, Aslam saw the divine light. He returned home and took Shahada at the hands of his true friend, the Sheikh. The darkness of atheism would never hit him again.

Quest and Conquest


The spirit that Prophet Muhammad (sa) came to instil was for one to take the flag of Islam and march forward. What is the quest of the Muslims? It is to attain salvation, gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and follow the Messenger (sa). This quest is of the hearts and minds, thus, it is more significant than any military quest.

The Prophet (sa) enabled his companions to liberate themselves from the shackles of social pressure. Prior to Islam, the Arabs were enslaved by the Quraish. Psychological enslavement of humans always begins with the enslavement of the mind, when one carries a self-defeating attitude and suffers from inferiority complex.

Allah (swt) commanded the Prophet (sa): “O you (Muhammad (sa)) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify!” (Al-Muddathir 74:1-3)

Allah (swt) inspired the Prophet (sa) to take the people out of the enslavement of other people and connect them to the Creator. This is where freedom of body and mind lied. How did this journey begin?

When the Prophet (sa) received through Jibreel the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq, commanding him to read in the name of his Lord, he got confused and ran to Khadijah (rtaf). Being a loving and trusting spouse, she assured the Messenger (sa) that Allah (swt) will never wrong him, as he used to stand for the truth and was considered to be the best man in the city. Khadija (rtaf) led him to Waraqa bin Nawfal, her uncle, who was a wise man and well-versed in the earlier scriptures. He perceived what was to come and informed the Prophet (sa) that he would be driven out of his home town, because he would challenge the socio-political status quo of the Quraish

A similar scene was sketched hundreds of years ago, when Allah (swt) brought Musa (as) to be nurtured in the palace of the Pharaoh. When Musa (as) was prepared for his mission, he looked at the Pharaoh in the eye and told him that he was a transgressor and doing wrong.

A common man from Banu Israel could not even have dreamed of demonstrating such courage. They were slaves. We always fear lack of experience or understanding. Musa (as) had nothing to fear, as by growing up in the palace, he knew the shortfalls of the Pharaoh’s system. He was not in awe of the Pharaoh and thus, he acted with confidence. Hence, Musa’s (as) quest began by liberating the suppressed slaves. He revealed to them that the Pharaoh was nothing compared to the power and grandeur of Allah (swt), Who had more right to their submission. Here began the quest, and the conquest followed soon after.

What was so magnificent about the Prophet’s (sa) companions and other early Muslims, which made them reach every known part of the world and enforce Islam? They conquered the Byzantines, the Persians, the Indians (through Muhammad bin Qasim), the Spaniards (through Tariq bin Ziyad) and the Chinese. The Islamic state was enormous in size – larger than what Alexander had conquered.

They were not super humans. They were simple Arabs. Rabiya bin Amir, a Bedouin clad in sheepskins, addressed Rustum, a king in silk and jewels. Allah’s (swt) soldier, commanding an army of merely 8,000, invited Rustum with a formidable army of 150,000 to embrace Islam. When asked by Rustum why he was there, Rabiya answered: To liberate your people from humans and give them into the enslavement of Allah (swt). Why didn’t the pomp and power of Rustum penetrate the heart of Rabiya?

No firm conclusions can be drawn over how Muslim conquests came so fast. In some cases, historians (Muslims and non-Muslims) believe that due to the tolerant nature of the Islamic rule, disbelievers preferred to take shelter with them. While Europe was facing the dark ages, Christians and Jews ran to Muslim lands to seek asylum.

In the final sermon, our beloved Prophet (sa) asked all 1,24,000 believers: “Have I delivered?” They all confirmed in unison. He then pointed towards the sky, addressing Allah (swt): “Bear witness, O Allah (swt), that I have delivered.” Then, he commanded the Muslims to go and deliver the message to the rest of the people. It was this spirit and sense of purpose that drove them. The Ashab-e-Rasool heard the Messenger (sa) and obeyed him until death.

Imagine the Sahabahs who had it drilled in their heads: Don’t just drink camel milk; eat dates and die; rise and take the message of Allah (swt) to the rest of the world! How come less than 10% of the companions died in Hijaz? Didn’t they know the merits awarded for prayers in Masjid-ul-Haram (1 Salah equivalent to 100,000 prayers), in Masjid-e-Nabwi (1 Salah equivalent to 1,000 prayers) and in Masjid-ul-Aqsa (1 Salah equivalent to 500 prayers)? Didn’t they have families or businesses? Then what was it that drove them out to conquer the world with limited capacity and scarce resources? Where did they all die? If you visit their graves, you will discover that Abu Ayub Ansari (rtam) is buried in Istanbul, Abu Ubaidah ibn Jarrah (rtam) is resting in Jordan, Zaid bin Harithah (rtam) is buried in Jordan, etc.

The single common thing among all companions was the Quran. This book was recited to them day and night. Umar bin Khattab (rtam) states that they were a disgraced nation; it was this Quran that bestowed honour upon them. They submitted to Allah (swt) alone and Allah (swt) freed them. No oppressor or tyrant was able to control them.

The quest of Muslim lies in liberating the minds and understanding the Quran. The Quran speaks for itself. If we, with all our iphones, ipads, TVs and jets, cannot reap results today, who can?

Today, Muslims collectively suffer from perpetual enslavement. We have the same Quran and its powerful message with us. However, we differ from the early Muslims in our understanding and application of the Quran. If the Quran could have such a deep impact on that generation, why doesn’t it work for 1.5 billion Muslims today? Simple! We think of ourselves as inferior beings. We choose to believe that we are slaves of the West -.we look up to them, we run after them and we obey them. The West is no different from the Quraish. They look down upon all and do not like to reason with anyone. However, we allow these social and cultural pressures to be imposed upon us. We do not have leaders; we have only beggars.

Learn your magnificent history! In the golden Andalusian period of the Shariah law, non-Muslims used to run to the Muslim lands for refuge. A Christian author George Maqdeesi writes that the present-day western university has been derived from the Islamic Madrassah model of Spain. In those Madrassahs, students learnt philosophy, Ahadeeth, Mantaq, Fiqh, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc. Do our Madrassahs look like this today?

The reason the Sahabahs didn’t care for the riches of the world or fear any rulers of the time was because they were mentally liberated. For them, the quest began at home. They submerged themselves into the Kalamullah – the Quran, the finely mathematically tuned order of the universe.

The Quran is your quest, too. The command of the Prophet (sa) was as much for the companions as it is for me and you. The Quran is no joke. It is serious. Learn it. Act upon it. Intertwine Islamic and secular sciences. Gather material strength, and produce power and capacity within yourself to establish justice and peace in the world. Embark u[on the quest. By Allah (swt), everything will change – we will overcome all.

Based on the “Rise with Faith” conference organized by “LiveDeen”. Transcribed for Hiba by Rana Rais Khan.

Editorial – The Prophet’s Concept of Companionship

10The thought of friends instantly warms up the soul. As Mark Twain sketched it, “it brings cheer in the face, song in the heart and sunshine in every step.”

No wonder childhood and youth are always brimming with life: we have surprises set upon us, with fun and laughter as a constant companion among the buddies. As life progresses, numerous responsibilities descend and slacken our ability to stay connected with friends. Those of us, who manage to keep in touch, would agree that it is no longer in the same carefree manner, and the frolic does eventually dilute.

However, what we all remember are the things we did for our friends and the sacrifices they made for us. Whether they were right or wrong is not the point, as friends seldom judge each other. They would let us copy their assignments at the eleventh hour; they would not tell on us when we puffed cigarettes; they would keep our secrets about our clandestine love affairs; they would lie for us to our parents or teachers when cornered, etc. And years later, they would laugh off the pranks and the deceptions.

However, companionship is dangerous, too. It has the power to change the course of our life, especially if we are not very certain of our own values and the direction we wish to take. Sincere friends, who tell us when we have been wrong and help us do right, are a blessing of Allah (swt). Consider the case of former pop star, Junaid Jamshaid, who was led to Allah (swt) by a friend. However, if we find camaraderie with someone who is misguided or a hypocrite, we can end up ruining our own lives as well as our precious relationships with others.

For the believers, Allah (swt) is One Friend, Who never forsakes them, whether in times of prosperity or adversity. Through Islam, Allah (swt) has set cordial and humane relations between nations: “There is not a moving (living) creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you.” (Al-Anam 6:38)

Similarly, in the early days of prophethood, we see the unparalleled example of a friendship between Muhammad (sa) and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (rtam) that lasted until the Prophet (sa) passed away. They rest in peace today besides each other in Masjid-e-Nabwi, too. The beloved Prophet (sa) inspired the Ansar of Madinah and the Muhajiroon of Makkah to set up similar relationships among themselves. He instilled the belief of loving people for the sake of Allah (swt). This idea gave birth to an unthinkable force within. It germinated the strength to break away from all negative and satanic emotions and notions. Thus, it became possible to exhibit patience, think selflessly, act proactively, and become an endeared comrade, because this would earn Allah’s (swt) love and pleasure.

Today, we have a very narrow vision of friendship. Plus, it is generally assumed that it is only for kids and young adults. It is also perceived that friendship can only be formed with the same age group. Often, it is only to fulfil our own insecurities or to exploit others for short-term gains. However, Islam talks about all sorts of friendships: a companionship between spouses to nurture principles and peace in the family, a supporting network between Mumin men and women in the way of Allah (swt) for the rise of Islam, a relationship of admiration and awe between teachers and students, and a bond of unconditional love and guidance between parents and offspring. These are all diverse pictures of relations based on friendships between the weak and the strong. Our Deen does not appreciate unjust relations between the oppressed and the oppressor or between the controlled and the controller.

The Sunnah teaches us how everyone – old and small – revered the Prophet (sa) because of his just nature. He was mild with those who deserved Allah’s (swt) mercy, hence, casting lasting impressions and befriending people. However, he punished those who were Allah’s (swt) enemies and did not consider them to be worthy of his friendship, no matter how lucrative a gain was in sight. This is something we, as believers, should be mindful of.

This then is the formula we need to follow in judging whom to befriend and to what extent we should support and love our friends. The question to ask is not what we think of our friends but what Allah (swt) might think of them. If the Prophet (sa) was alive today, would we be able to introduce them to him without any shame or hesitation? Do our friends help us improve our family relations or are they a reason we are drifting further away? Do they help us reach our potential and cherish our triumphs or do they constantly condemn us and compete with us instead?

We can assess our own role as a friend with others in the same light. While the Sahabahs were alive, their undying loyalty and love for the Prophet (sa) were exemplary. What greater lesson can we learn about friendship? And our dear Prophet (sa) never let an opportunity pass to guide them, compliment them, enjoy with them, console them, care for them, worry about them, and at times, even discipline them for their benefit.

When they passed away, he would pray the Salat al-Janazah for the sincere Najashi; he would carry Julaybib (rta) in his arms for burial; he would remember young and handsome Musab for his valour, etc. Such was the friendship of the Prophet (sa), who prayed for all to meet be in his company not only in this world but in the eternal bliss of Jannah, too. He loved all for the sake of Allah (swt). Friendships endure trials only if they have been formed for the sake of Allah (swt).

Rana Rais Khan